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The MA in War Studies enhances analytical, conceptual, research and critical thinking skills designed expressly to enhance employability and aid professional career development. You will gain an understanding of the phenomenon of war and conflict, along with its causes, conduct and consequences, from historical, political, philosophical, military and sociological viewpoints.
Designed to provide a postgraduate-level introduction to War Studies for students who have little or no specialist background in the field.
A unique opportunity to study war from a multi-disciplinary perspective in order to achieve a sophisticated and well-rounded understanding of the phenomenon.
A chance to develop a range of transferable skills that will enhance your employability, aid your professional-career development and help prepare you for postgraduate research. These include analytical, conceptual, critical-thinking, research and communication skills.
You will be taught by some of the very best academics in the field. Departmental staff are internationally acknowledged experts in their areas of specialization; they are active researchers and routinely employ their latest findings in their teaching.
An opportunity to study at a global centre of excellence that enjoys close relationships with other academic institutions, with think tanks, non-governmental organizations and policy-making bodies around the world.
Opportunities to network with high-profile visitors, such as government ministers, ambassadors and generals, who frequently give talks in the Department.
Read what David Hiley former student, now working for Renaissance Strategic Advisors says about this programme here.
Application status Open
Duration One year FT, two years PT, September to September.
Study mode Full-time, Part-time
Credit value UK 180/ECTS 90
Course intake 15-25 FT and PT.
Course leaders Dr John Stone
Course contact for further information Postgraduate Admissions Team, Admissions Office tel: +44 (0) 20 7848 7000 fax: +44 (0) 20 7848 7200
Postgraduate Admissions Team, Admissions Office tel: +44 (0) 20 7848 7000 fax: +44 (0) 20 7848 7200
Course contact form Postgraduate admissions enquiry form
Awarding institution King's College London
Faculty Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy
Department Department of War Studies
Visit our admissions webpages to view our English language entry requirements.
General entry advice
Bachelors degree with 2:1 honours (or overseas equivalent e.g. US CGPA of 3.3+) in history, international relations, political science, economics or other appropriate subject.Successful applicants will generally be achieving grades at mid 2:1 level (or equivalent overseas level) or higher.
Applications must be made online using King's online application portal and a non-refundable application fee of £50 applies. All applications are assessed by a committee of academic tutors. We aim to process all complete applications within four weeks; during February and March and over holiday periods, applications may take longer to process.
Please provide a personal statement explaining why you are interested in this particular programme, and outlining any relevant experience you have. If there are any anomalies in your academic record, please use the personal statement to explain related extenuating circumstances.
The deadline for applications for September 2017 entry is 31st March 2017. After this date, programmes will remain open if places are available, and programmes will be closed as soon as they are full, so we encourage you to submit your application as soon as possible. For programmes with spaces remaining, no further applications will be accepted from non-EU (Overseas) nationals after 30th July 2017 or from UK/ EU nationals after 3rd September 2017.
War is a key aspect of human experience, and people have long sought to understand it from a diverse range of perspectives. Students of war are drawn from the ranks of historians, social scientists, philosophers, jurists and artists. Practitioners of war find instrumental value in its study. These and others have brought their particular insights and concerns to bear on the subject. However, the study of war from any single standpoint risks producing an overly narrow perspective that cannot accommodate war’s complexity. Individual issues are elucidated but we remain a long way from understanding war “in the round”. Such a goal demands a different, more holisitic, approach.
The MA in War Studies is designed to meet this demand by introducing students to a multidisciplinary approach to the study of war. As such, it provides an intellectual “toolbox” whose contents are drawn from a range of disciplines associated with the humanities and the social sciences. Students will not be trained as specialist historians, philosophers, strategists, etc., but they will be introduced to elements of various disciplines that are germane to the study of war. The challenge lies in combining them in order to achieve a sophisticated and rounded understanding of the subject.
To introduce the field of war studies to graduate students and professionals, professionals with an interest in deepening their understanding of war. You will gain an understanding of the phenomenon of war and conflict, along with its causes, conduct and consequences, from historical, political, philosophical, military and sociological viewpoints. The programme will appeal to students from a wide range of backgrounds including politics, history and strategic studies; and professionals in defence, diplomacy and foreign affairs wanting to reflect on the broader implications of their experiences.
Continuous assessment by essay; examinations and a dissertation.
The MA programme is designed as a one year full-time, or two year part-time taught programme which offers students the opportunity to engage critically with the field of war studies. The programme consists of a broad based multi-disciplinary curriculum.
The MA programme contains the following elements:
A compulsory module, 'Approaches to War'.Please click on the link below for a module description.
Optional modules chosen from a range of possibilities (worth 80 credits in total). See the list of typical options below. Please note that we CANNOT GUARANTEE TO OFFER ALL OPTIONAL MODULES in any given year.
A dissertation of 15,000 words.
The dissertation is to be written over the Summer Term. Students may choose their own topic but it must fall within the remit of the study of war and must be approved by a member of staff. Part-time students are advised to take the core module in the first year of study and write the dissertation in the second year.
All optional modules are 40 credits unless otherwise specified.
Option modules begin in week 3 of term 1.
To maintain a beneficial student/staff ratio in the classroom and promote effective learning, there are a limited number of student places available on each module
Some of the optional modules are prioritised for students on particular masters programmes. This means that even if a option is offered the year that you are here, you are not guaranteed a place on it.
For a list of POSSIBLE option modules please refer to the MA in War Studies programme page here You are advised not to base your decision to join the degree programme soley on this list.
NB Option modules are allocated using purpose-designed software which the department has created to maximise student choice while keeping each option class to a reasonable size. The system weighs student preferences, and gives priority where necessary to options of particular relevance to each specific MA programme.
War Studies Graduates go on to work for NGOs, the FCO, the MOD, the Home Office, NATO, the UN or pursue careers in journalism, finance, academia, the diplomatic services, the armed forces and more. Recent posts held by our alumni include Threat Analyst, Director of Political Violence Forecasting, Research Advisor at NATO Defence College, Foreign Policy Fellow.
"The War Studies MA enhanced my research and critical thinking skills in addition to providing me with several new perspectives from which to view conflict as a matter both of personal interest and professionally. Upon completing the course I was well equipped to start a career that has developed into providing professional consulting services to the World’s largest defence companies."
The Department of War Studies at King’s is a unique institution. There really is no place like it, or even close to it, when it comes to the academic study of war in all its dimensions in a civilian university of the top rank. There is a greater concentration here of expertise and experience, both in the faculty and the student body, and resources, both online and physical, than any other place I can think of. My research is on strategy, in particular British strategy, the adaptation of armed forces to the contemporary operating environment, and insurgency and counterinsurgency. I have a major interest in cyber warfare and I’m currently writing a book Power in Cyberspace in Theory and Practice which is out in 2011. I also head the Insurgency Research Group at King’s which has been involved in doctrinal work for the British Army, most recently on JDP 3-40 Stabilisation. Most of my students are mid-career professionals working for their national military, or in some aspect of defence administration and policy, other government agency (foreign service or intelligence), international organisation (such as the UN or NATO), an NGO, or defence journalism. Anyone with a deep professional or personal interest in the study of war at an advanced level would find this an intellectually rewarding and challenging place to be.
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£10,950 p.a. (2017/18)*
£19,650 p.a. (2017/18)*
£5,475 p.a. (2017/18)*
£9,825 p.a. (2017/18)*
*These tuition fees may be subject to additional increases in subsequent years of study, in line with King’s terms and conditions.
Please note: Current regulations allow some students to pay UK tuition fees on the basis of their EU citizenship or residency. Until these eligibility criteria are changed, the EU tuition fee will remain the same as the UK tuition fee.
When you receive an offer for this course you will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit to secure your place. The deposit will be credited towards your total fee payment.
The UK/EU deposit is £500.
The INTERNATIONAL deposit is £2,000.
Please visit our web pages on fees and funding for more information.
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